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  • Legislature in ‘Unusual Circumstance’ for Elections Act Debate

    The House of Assembly is opening on Monday for a special session in light of a recent court ruling that special ballots unconstitutional and invalid.

    Justice Gillian Butler ruled last month that special ballots were unconstitutional following a Charter challenge launched by former NDP candidate Julie Mitchell who lost her 2011 bid to represent the district of Burin-Placentia West by just 40 votes. She argued that special ballots gave the incumbent an advantage because they sometimes go out before all candidates are in place.

    According to legislation, the byelection in Mount Pearl North has to be held within 90 days of the seat being vacated. Former Tory MHA Steve Kent stepped down from his seat this week after accepting a job with the City of Mount Pearl.

    Government House Leader Andrew Parsons says the Legislature has to debate amendments to the Elections Act prior to the start of next month’s fall sitting. He says they’re in an unusual circumstance whereby parts of the legislation are invalid and unconstitutional, and a byelection has to be called in the coming weeks.

    The house will reopen on Monday to debate the amendments. The regular fall sitting will begin November 6.

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